Eric 2009/07/19 6:46pm

I'd like to talk about a few recordings I've picked up lately that are getting lots of play in my car and on my iPod. David Peterson's "Comin' On Strong" is a real deal country record that would be all over the radio and jukeboxes had it come out in 1954 or so. The record is so rich and fresh-sounding, cut live on the floor with the musicians gathered together with no headphones. The results are electric. You can hear the give and take between the musicians and David's voice sounds especially inspired. Double and triple fiddles, wailing steel, Bob Moore-inspired bass playing by Dennis Crouch, great 'deep catalog' songs from the likes of Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, Mac Wiseman, and Willie get the picture. I get just as moved by this kind of stuff as I do by bluegrass music. It's music I think I'll crank at intersections just to get my point across as the uninitiated shake their heads. It's music you can't find at Wal-mart.

I think it must be tough to be Ralph Stanley II, being the son and nephew of such musical legends. I am really enjoying "This One Is Two," especially Lyle Lovett's "L.A. County" and Townes Van Zandt's "Loretta." The production is crisp and it feels to me like II has found his voice, sounding comfortable and very believable. Not that he needs me at all, but I'm really rooting for him.

Joe Walsh turned me on to Crooked Still this summer. I ordered "Shaken By A Low Sound" after forcing Joe to play it repeatedly on a recent trip. I love Aoife O'Donovan's singing and the grooves the band finds throughout the recording. I had never heard cello in a more-or-less old-timey setting. It's different and compelling. My oldest son requests it whenever we get in the car, so that's making it all the more special a recording for me. When I hear this record down the road, I know I'll remember riding around with him with this as our summer soundtrack.